Some professions require employees to spend time outside their typical working hours on call. During on-call time, the employee must be able to report for further job duties on short notice. Certain standards must be met in order for on-call time to count as work time. This is true for Texas health care workers as well as others. If you believe your employer failed to compensate you for on-call time that should have been considered work time, you should contact an attorney. An experienced labor attorney may be able to evaluate the facts of your case and help you decide whether or not to pursue a claim.
When Should Employees Be Paid for On-Call Time?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) typically governs when an employee’s on-call time qualifies as compensable work time. Employers should consider whether such on-call time counts as hours worked when determining whether they should compensate you. Employers should also keep this in mind when determining if they met the requirements for meeting minimum wage and overtime pay standards.
The Department of Labor (DOL) does not automatically consider all on-call time as hours worked. In most cases, workers are not considered to be working when they are allowed to leave the job site and do whatever they wish during those on-call hours. Conversely, if workers actually respond to calls during on-call time, that time would be categorized as work hours.
Examples of workers who likely would be considered working when on-call include health care workers who must remain at a hospital or similar site during on-call time. In addition, maintenance staff who must stay near or at the facilities where they work during on-call time would likely be considering working. Generally, the main factor in determining if an employee is working is whether or not they are free to use those on-call hours for their own purposes.
When Are Workers Not Entitled to Be Paid for On-Call Time?
It is much more straightforward to determine when workers are entitled to be compensated for on-call time when they are required to stay at their work site. When employees must be on call from home, however, things can seem more ambiguous. Often, employers will place this on-call time at home in the non-compensable column. Employers view such on-call time as time that workers are free to use in whatever manner they wish.
On-call time spent at home is usually categorized as non-compensable even when employers make specific requirements of their workers. Such requirements could include staying reachable by cell phone or email or remaining free from the influence of alcohol, in case they are required to work. Having these restrictions on your on-call time does not necessarily mean that those hours will count as compensable hours worked. In cases where work calls become too numerous for a worker to perform desired tasks at home (i.e., performing household chores or attending a family event), then the worker’s on-call time would likely be categorized as compensable work time.
Contact the Lore Law Firm for an On-Call Work Time Case Evaluation
If you are a Texas health care worker who believes your employer should be compensating you for your on-call time, an attorney with the Lore Law Firm may be able to help. We consider the specific facts of each client’s case when determining whether on-call time should count as work time. To have our attorneys provide a free and confidential review, you may contact us online or call (713) 782-5291.